CONFIRMED – Crowsnest Mountain scramble

Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, 3rd editionClimber Scott Whiteside who lives in the Crowsnest Pass recommends the Crowsnest Mountain scramble in the Canadian Rockies. It’s 4-7hrs return, 1100m (3609ft), non-technical. Good fun — but no mountaineering gear needed when dry.

No map needed, just Alan Kane’s book.

A group of us are planning to do it Saturday, June 17th. Email or leave a comment if you want to join us.


gear – Swiss Champ knife Swiss Army Swiss Champ Pocket Knife (Red): Sports & Outdoors

I’m still lugging the 1lb ! (.45kg) biggest Swiss Army pocket knife made.

Heavy — but at least I’ve got the biggest tool in the woods!

32 stainless-steel tools with a lifetime warranty. Essential to me are the corkscrew, tweezers, nail file, pliers, and large knife (which should lock, but does not).

What’s your favourite camping knife? Leave a comment below.

introducing Chris Townsend

townsend.jpgChris is one of the world’s leading long distance wilderness walkers.

In 1988 he was the first to walk the continental divide of the Canadian Rockies, a 1600mi challenge. The book is titled High Summer.

He published too his 2002 desert trek: Crossing Arizona

In 1996 he climbed all 517 summits over 3000ft in the Scottish highlands.

He has walked the 2600mi Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, the 3000mi Continental Divide from Mexico to Canada and 1000mi south to north through the Yukon.

In Europe he has walked 1300mi end-to-end through Scandinavia and 1250mi from Lands End to John O’Groats in Britain.

The Backpacker\'s HandbookIf you buy only one how to hiking book, it’s his Backpacker’s Handbook.

Aside from his books, he’s authored hundreds of articles, and contributes regularly to TGO (The Great Outdoors) magazine. He’s their gear guru.

Chris Townsend’s official website.

Bear attacks

Hiking for years in the Rockies, I’ve still only seen two Grizzlies. Bear aware, they do not worry me.

But Parks Canada bear management is getting more savvy.

For the next two seasons (2006 and 2007) two specific areas will be closed during berry season where attacks have been frequent. Over the past 8 years, there have been 5 bear attacks in Banff National Park — 3 near Allenby Pass in the Bryant Creek area, and 2 on the Aylmer Pass trail near Lake Minnewanka. In all cases, the attacks were a result of hikers travelling alone or in a small group, who surprised female grizzlies with cubs during berry season.


introducing John Chapman

If you want to hike in Australia, you want to know John Chapman. He is the hiking author down under.

John and his wife Monica authored the first 3 editions of the Lonely Planet bushwalking guides for Australia. When John decided to self-publish the 4th edition, Lonely Planet changed the title and focus of their guide, now more of a general overview: Lonely Planet Walking in Australia

Many hikers from abroad are unaware of John’s 4th edition. (Only the 3rd edition is listed on, for example.) Check John Chapman’s up-to-date list of his many published guidebooks.

For example, I will be buying his dedicated Overland Track guidebook for a planned pilgrimage to Tasmania in 2007.

Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

Every hiker wants to cross the Grand Canyon. Just because it is there.

I did a similar trip across the much deeper Colca Canyon in Peru. Very challenging and very rewarding.

But to cross rim-to-rim takes advance planning. Of 30,000+ requests for backcountry permits each year, the park issues only 13,000.

Ideally, you should book at least 4 months in advance. Transportation can be a hassle. Details on Kaibab Trail

This is why we need — to get a heads-up on which of the great hikes require advance planning.

The best time to walk rim-to-rim is Spring and Fall. Summer is hot! Also, the North Rim facilities and road access close during the winter.

The second best hike in the Grand Canyon is a loop from the South Rim. Logistics are much easier. But hike rim-to-rim 20.6mi (33.2km), 3-days, 2-nights if you can.


mountaineering ethics

In the death zone everyone is at risk. It’s not an Olympic yacht race. The same rules do not apply.

Anyone who climbs that high knows the risks.

As I write at least 10 have died during the 2006 Everest high season. Thomas Weber died on the way up at 8,700m. His partner David Sharp freaked out on the way down and died 300m below the summit. Perhaps 40 climbers passed unwilling or unable to save him.

My Journey Home from EverestThey were criticized by Edmund Hillary — but I don’t judge them. I’m not sure what I would do.

Lincoln Hall, another day, was left for dead at 8,800m. He survived overnight, a miracle, and was helped down the mountain next day.

What I am saying is that this issue is more complicated than it seems. Read Beck Weathers uplifting book Left For Dead before you pass judgement.

Climber left for dead rescued from Everest

%d bloggers like this: